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Ellisville Mayor Upset Over City's Walmart Press Release

At the last Planning and Zoning meeting, a press release with an update regarding the Walmart development in Ellisville was read to the public. Mayor Adam Paul said he was upset no one had informed him of the update beforehand.

Prior to the start of the Ellisville last Thursday, commission member Chris Turner read a press release to the audience informing them of two updates from the city in regards to the Walmart development.

Mayor Adam Paul, who was present at the meeting, said he had no prior knowledge of the press release.

First, the city announced the Sansone Group, the company in charge of the project, would double the cash benefit to the Clarkchester apartments tenants who would be displaced because of the project.

Second, the city announced that the estimated cost of the Walmart would be reduced. As a result, the Sansone Group would not seek either a Transportation Development District or Community Improvement tax. Because of the cost reduction, Ellisville residents would save $4.2 million in public funds and it would reduce the future Walmart’s sales tax by 2 percent.

Mayor Paul said after the meeting that he was upset no one had informed him of this press release.

“I’m upset that when a project of this magnitude is cut, I have to find out from a planning and zoning meeting announcement,” said Paul, who opposes the Walmart development. “The mayor has to be kept on top of all the information in a project like this.”

Paul said he was glad $4.2 million in public funds would be cut, but said it was probably not a hard decision for Walmart’s developers.

“They probably just figured out it was not going to be as expensive to build it, so they made this big announcement out of it,” Paul said.

Read our most recent stories on this subject:

E. Schmidt July 16, 2012 at 12:22 PM
A reporter from a major news outlet contacted me on Friday and stated that he found it odd that the press release was read at the Planning and Zoning Public Hearing, issued to the press after the announcement (rather than the day of) and that the contact on the release was someone in the police department. I informed him that the mayor was not even aware of the change (a big change) in the Walmart TIF project. This is apparently the way the City of Ellisville now operates in regards to this project. A few weeks ago, District 2 representatives Linda Reel and Troy Pieper had a meeting for the Covert Ln. and Macklin Dr. residents at City Hall (a public building) with city hall staff (public employees) about a the TIF Walmart (public project), but only dropped flyers at the doors of people on those two streets. (I can only assume they didn’t care about how the neighbors to the east on Park Vlew Place Dr. were affected by the project since they didn’t bother to invite them.) They posted the public notice inside city hall on a bulletin board (rather than in the more accessible glass case) right before close of business the day before, thus adhering to the letter of the law and doing the bare minimum to meet that letter so it could not be construed as an illegal meeting. And of course no announcement on the website.
E. Schmidt July 16, 2012 at 12:34 PM
cont'd I suppose all 10,000 Ellisville residents are required to drive to city hall every day and check the inside bulletin board to see if there is an important meeting that may affect us all on a daily basis. So, they had a meeting in a public building using public employees about a public project and did everything they could to limit participation by the public at large…and yes, even the mayor didn’t know about the meeting…and he lives in District 2. He didn’t get so much as a “courtesy” call. If you are tired of the lack of transparency in government and think it is time for a change, contact ellisvilleA9A@yahoo.com
K James July 16, 2012 at 01:58 PM
This is a GOOD thing that the development will cost less in TIFF monies and the tax will be reduced. The mayor should be rejoicing that less tax payor funding is required not whining like a petulent child. Instead of the Mayor being Mayoral and saying something like: "I am pleased that this project is going to be comming in under projection and that the taxpaying citizens of this community are going to get a break." He complains that he 'wasn't informed.' And Liz, had council member Reel wanted you invited to a meeting with residence, I am sure you would have been invited. Small group meetings are a great way to interact in an intimate setting to get issues understood. And Liz, I didn't get a 'courtesy' call from Mrs Reel either, the meeting was not directed toward me or the mayor. Council members are allowed to have meetings, as the Mayor is allowed to have meetings at the bowling alley, but I wasn't invited to that one either. Mayor Paul, DO YOUR JOB, LEAD THIS COMMUNITY. If you can't be gracious and look toward the best interest of this community instead of your own 'feelings.' I am sure there are others who would take pride and lead with dignity and grace, to take your place. You are the MAYOR of the ENTIRE community now. For goodness sakes, act like it. You fought hard to become the mayor, you have the job. Now start acting like you belong there. This isn't a training ground for you. You have the 'best interests' of 10,000 people in your lap.
E. Schmidt July 16, 2012 at 02:08 PM
KJames, Perhaps you are not aware that when city officials hold a meeting in a public building using public staff about a public project there is a requirement that they notify the PUBLIC. Of course they did the bare minimum when it came to notifying the public...to keep themselves out of legal trouble...which is apparently all we can expect. Explain this away all you want. There is no excuse for this lack of transparency.
Adam Paul July 16, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Kate James- I have ceased my longtime blog on the B-E patch and refrained from posting comments out of respect for our City as an elected official. Until now. Your consistent negative comments towards me are out of line and untrue. I am embarrassed for you because you completely contradict yourself as a former City Council member. Have some respect and pick up the phone. Also, to clarify, it is TIF not TIFF. You should know this being nominated to the TIF commission as you voted to approve this project. Furthermore, the TIF amount essentially stays the same, the added CID and TDD were the items removed from the proposal. The conversation I had with the reporter after the P and Z meeting was a casual one. Reread the article. "Paul said he was glad $4.2 million in public funds would be cut" When the reporter asked me why the cuts were made, I responded probably because the project was going to cost less than anticipated. I said didn't have an answer for him and that I wish I did. That is was upsetting because I just found out myself and wish I got the memo before the press release at a P and Z meeting. I wasn't screaming and stomping my feet like a 'petulant child'. It was good news and I was happy to hear we were saving money. Lastly, I never called a public meeting at a bowling alley. I was invited to speak and introduce myself at the newly formed Ellisville Business Association with business owners and representatives around our town. Is there a problem with doing this?
K James July 16, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Liz; The condensation in your tone is obvious. Since the meeting in question was a one time meeting to discuss specifically with the residents in a particular area, I am assuming that you weren't invited because the meeting wasn't about you. It was posted, legal and all. If you want more transparency, talk to your council members and I am sure that they will be responsive to your requests. Neighborhood meetings are held all the time, and have been for years, as a way for counsel members to talk in small groups with their neighbors. If you had been involved over the years you would know this. Since this meeting was not about you, maybe that is why you were not personally invited. So your 'lack of transparency' conspiratorial theory is moot. This is old news Liz. Communication with your counsel members would go a long way in solving your problems. Just because you didn't get the outcome you desired over an issue, does not mean that you can or should expect 'less' from your counsel members. I personally would make sure that from now on, you are informed of any and all meetings that take place.
E. Schmidt July 16, 2012 at 03:35 PM
A meeting in a public building with public employees and electeds about a public financed project concerns the public...all of the PUBLIC. But apparently the new motto of the City of Ellisville is: "We do the bare minimum, to keep you in the dark and the city out of court."
Jimmy C July 16, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Mayor, K James and Charles Pavlak ( CP is still on p + z board) who both have former ties to the City as alderman have some sick vendetta or personal problem with you, our Mayor. It is disgusting to see those two try to slam you before the election, after the election, and still today. Mayor, you are loved by all of your residents. You are a level headed, very nice humble man. You do the right thing, listen, and follow your heart. That is what it is all about. So far, you have done an A+ job. I am not just talking about the Wal-Mart either. I have heard from several folks that you answer calls, emails, and are allways out and about helping the town no matter the time of day or who notices. Don't get caught up with K James online, nobody listens to that garbage anyhow. That is what she wants you to do. Keep doing what you are doing Mayor! You are good man sir.
Just "J" July 16, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Mayor Paul, My problem with the Press Release was that it sounded like Sansone and Walmart were doing the city a favor. I would like to know who was in charge of the wording of the Press Release? We are all supposed to thank Sansone and Walmart for finally showing the least bit of fiscal responsibility? I think its about time they started to show some good faith to the people of Ellisville.
Ellisville Resident July 16, 2012 at 09:56 PM
K James, GO AWAY ALREADY!
The Teacher July 17, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Yes, K James, please go away. Return to school for assistance with your grammar, punctuation and spelling. While you're at it, try to learn how to be a human being. -The Teacher
mike k July 17, 2012 at 02:08 AM
K. James has as much right as anyone on this site to express an opinion without being subjected to "GO AWAY ALREADY." That is quite childish. Although I do not agree with the Mayor's position on Walmart, I will say I was impressed that he attended the entire 3 hour session of last weeks P&L meeting. Also I think he had a right to expect that he would receive advanced notice on something such as major changes to the Sandsone agreement prior to a public announcement. That all being said, I believe certain private individuals (on both sides, perhaps myself included) are just trying to keep this Walmart issue alive to advance their own personal agenda rather than putting the issue behind us (It's going to be built whether you like it or not) and finding ways to replace Best Buy, Long John Silvers, Nissan, Gordmans. and other businesses that have left Ellisville.
Tired July 17, 2012 at 02:33 AM
You people are NUTS...Walmart can't get here soon enough.
Mike James July 17, 2012 at 06:27 AM
While folks from Ellisville are paying attention... Does anyone know when discussions will begin again in earnest to build the wider and improved Hwy 109 that will connect I-64 (Hwy 40) with Manchester Road. Ellisville, Ballwin and Wildwood are not connected well to I-64 with an efficient and well-designed roadway ~ an improved Hwy 109 to I-64 is needed.
Charles Pavlack July 17, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Mike, Hwy 109 is in Wildwood, so any discussions would have to be between them and MoDot. I certainly agree that an improved 109 would be great, I think that Wildwood has consistently opposed creation of what has been termed an "Outer Belt" that would accomplish what you're discussing.
E. Schmidt July 17, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Expect variations of this Walmart TIF drama to be replayed over and over again as there are other redevelopment areas on the drawing board. Be aware that if you own a home is Ellisville (or are planning to buy a home,) the zoning codes and comprehensive plan mean nothing. Any property owner at any time may find themselves threatened with a big box behemoth on the edge of their yard or neighborhood. Following “review” of the project by professional staff, the P & Z Commission and the City Council are more than willing to accommodate any building that far exceeds the stated height and square footage for C-3 (commercial) projects in the zoning code and twist, stretch or ignore the stated goals in the comprehensive plan to bring in development. They will cut off ready access to your neighborhood streets and small businesses under the guise of improving traffic flow (while bringing in 10,000 additional car trips per day???) ignore any increase in crime and vandalism that the project will bring (documented in studies from other locations) and disregard the decline in property values that surrounding neighbors will experience. They will change or bend the rules on parking spaces needed if you are a big money developer, but strictly enforce them if you are a small businessman looking to erect a building and bring in tenants.
E. Schmidt July 17, 2012 at 04:51 PM
cont'd If you live within a block or two of a major street, Tax Increment Financing and the Threat of Eminent Domain (legalized extortion to take your property) are ever present in your future. The 2005 Resolution to Limit the Use of Eminent Domain means nothing. Section 2 reads, “The City Council will consider amending the Ellisville City Charter to protect the private property of all Ellisville residents.” They revised the city charter the very next year and did no such thing. Your property is still at risk. Broken promises, selective application of zoning codes, big plans with no follow through is what you can expect. If you think it is time for a change contact ellisvilleA9A@yahoo.com
mike k July 17, 2012 at 06:14 PM
blah, blah, blah.... Don't you ever get tired of repeating your "sky is falling" babel.
M. DesHotel July 18, 2012 at 02:55 PM
I think it's pretty obvious that Mayor Paul is being intentionally marginalized. Is there any doubt as to who is really running the show (hint: the "former" Mayor).
Tired July 18, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Thank God that the former Mayor is still present, and capable of using common sense and influence, otherwise we'd be subjected to the infantile mentality of the current top post holder...When your campaign slogan was, "No Walmart, but don't ask me for any substantive ideas past that, because I have none." Trust me, you don't belong in office...Leadership demands more than simply being against something, you have to have a viable alternative before being considered worthy for the position, or respected...This current Mayor has demonstrated nothing of substance in order to warrant anyone's respect...That is not about being marginalized by other board members, it simply speaks to who the man is and what he's about...You want the current Mayor to be respected, then tell him to go out and earn it, otherwise expect the status quo...He controls that, no one else...Class dismissed.
M. DesHotel July 18, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Tired, I certainly respect your opinion. But please don't assume that all Ellisville residents feel as you do. The two top vote getters in Ellisville's mayoral election were anti-Walmart/TIF, and the residents of Ellisville spoke clearly by casting a majority of their votes for those two candidates. Even if the only thing voters knew about Paul and/or Murray was that they were anti-Walmart, that was clearly all they needed to know. You feel that we should all be grateful that Perillo and his gang are still (for all intents and purposes) running things because the new Mayor hasn't "earned" the right to lead yet. Last time I checked, earning the right to lead isn't mandatory for having the right to run for office or even winning an election. And if Ellisville residents had been concerned about anything other than making sure the Walmart project was killed, they might have spread their votes around a little more evenly. To put it plainly, most of us voted for anti-Walmart candidates because we care more about our property values than whether or not someone has to learn on the job. We're agonizing over the knowledge that they will dive even lower once the increased crime and traffic that always accompanies Walmart stores becomes a reality. And those of us living within a mile of the Walmart site will be selling our homes at bargain basement prices just to get away from it all (and bringing down all the other home values in Ellisville as the unintended consequence).
Ethos July 18, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Yes, because the Clarkchester Apartments and empty car lots are what brings real value to property in Ellisville.
mike k July 18, 2012 at 10:45 PM
What exactly does our new Mayor stand for except for being against Walmart.? What are his plans to replace Best Buy, Gormans, Nissan and many other businesses that have left Ellisville. He wanted the job, now he needs to take a leadership position and actually do something proactive to lead this community.
Jimmy C July 19, 2012 at 05:03 AM
Mike k He stands for the people. The Mayor actually listens to the people, like he is supposed to do. He just started, are you crazy? You are a slow person Mike K and a very irrational person for saying the things you say. I just got back from the meeting tonight, it was only his 5th meeting. Really long.... Also, what dont you get about the fact that the City can't force business to move here. There is no magic spells to cast or magic wands to say 'ikea here' or 'TJ max there'. It is up to them to decide where they want to move. All you can do is make sure the city is doing the right things with planning and the places will come on there own.

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